Disability often leads to poverty or disruptive change in economic status for the disabled individual and for his or her family. The effect on the distribution of income between households may be doubly adverse: the disabled person loses his or her income; the need to care for the disabled person may cause some other family member to stop working. Disability can have serious financial implication for industry in terms of labour turnover and the retention of new workers. Disability may force people to remain idle and dependent. In countries with high unemployment, the disabled may be relegated to reserve labour force status, to be employed only when demand for labour is very high and to be laid off as soon as demand falls.
Disability may reduce the active work force capability of a nation with a resultant effect on the support of the social benefit system. The costs of disability are greatest in those nations which are in need of an increased active work force. In some industrialized nations with ageing populations and increased numbers of disabled persons, there is a trend towards reduced numbers of active workers supporting each recipient of social benefits. In other nations, the population in younger age groups is increasing. These trends have long-term effects on the financial bases of social benefit schemes. In developing countries with normally low rates of employment, planners may erroneously conclude that it is unnecessary to include the disabled in their labour policy.